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Velho Vain: A Story of Immortal Death -- Fantasy


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#1 Mdane

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 02:37 AM

Good morning all, I have made some changes to the first 250. Please let me know what you think.

 

The hunger for battle had been starved into me from a young age. Forced upon me until I had developed an obnoxious dependence on the spill of blood—whose, it didn’t matter. My friendship with death is how I knew blood would flow in this tavern this evening. I smiled into my glass of cheap whiskey. 
 
The stool to my right held a new occupant; one of those men who enjoyed words more than was healthy. He reeked of gun powder and desperation and the rigidity in his frame told me he knew a fight was brewing too. I took a pull from my drink and thought of the old days when I was the hunter.
 
While it was true that one fight was as fine as the next, what good was it if your heart didn’t thud the corrupt cadence of anticipation? The lead up is where pleasure is found, not in the wiping of blood from your blade. Regardless, I knew I would particularly enjoy this fight. It wasn’t the cocked pistol resting in his moldy hip-holster, nor his three companions spread around the tavern floor, each watching on with shifting eyes and twitching fingers.
 
No, it was his feathery voice. The type which held as much truth as a fat lady’s corset; an illusion created to lure you into an unpleasant situation. There was one cure for that voice. It ended in crimson; my favourite colour.

 

 

 

 

High all! I have just finished writing the first draft of my new novel, and before I continued on with the second, I wanted to get an opinion on my writing style before I made too many changes. I have never written in 1st person before, and am always keen to listen to advice from you guys. Please, any input would be great.

 

Thanks

 

 

Neither the rolling acrid smoke nor the stench of stale beer wafting in the backwater tavern could disguise the fact that a fight was about to break out. I knew it. The gun powder on my unwanted “friend’s” effeminate fingers told me he knew it. I sighed into my mug of the cheapest whiskey money could buy and thought of the good old days when I was the hunter.

I mean, sure, one fight was as good as the next, but what good is it if your heart doesn’t thud a corrupt cadence of anticipation? The lead up is where it’s at, not the wiping of blood from your blade at the end. The previous minute or two had guaranteed I would enjoy this fight. It wasn’t the cocked pistol resting in his mouldy hip-holster. Nor his three companions spread around the floor, each watching on with shifting eyes and twitching fingers.

No, it was his feathery voice. The type which held as much truth as a fat lady’s corset; all illusion set on deceiving into a very nasty situation. There was one cure for that voice. It ended in crimson; my favourite colour.

I tilted my head to allow a better view of the man who had sat in the empty bar stool to my right. The vein in my neck pulsed to life as recognition spread through me. 


Desperately looking for advice on my query The Other Side of Blood

 

My published novel on Amazon The Traitor in the Trees


#2 JoQwerty

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 04:29 AM

Your writing style is heavy on figures of speech. I assume you are trying to capture the voice of an old, grizzled, loquacious veteran. If so you are headed in the right direction. You might think of using more phonetic spelling to help capture the MC's speech patterns and accent.

 

Apart from style, you need to examine your sentences for logical consistency.

 

Neither the rolling acrid smoke nor the stench of stale beer wafting in the backwater tavern could disguise the fact that a fight was about to break out.

 

One can see a fight coming and one can hear a fight coming, but can one smell a fight coming? If the MC can "smell" a fight coming then he is a bit batty and you need to bring this out more in his voice.

 

The gun powder on my unwanted “friend’s” effeminate fingers told me he knew it.

 

 

Is it possible to have an "unwanted friend"? Probably you mean an "unwanted companion". Also, gun powder on the fingers tells me we are in the ball and musket days, is that right?

 

I sighed into my mug of the cheapest whiskey money could buy and thought of the good old days when I was the hunter.

 

 

Do people drink whiskey out of mugs? Mugs for drinking beer hold one to two pints. Mugs for coffee, one to two cups. Even in the old westerns, the big, burly, bad guy drinks his whiskey out of a shot glass.



#3 Mdane

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 12:09 AM

Thanks very much for your reply JoQwerty. I understand completely what you mean in regards to smelling danger, I will revisit this sentence.

Also I think companion would be the better word to use.

You are correct in assuming this is a gunpowder fantasy novel. Magic and muskets, what a combination haha.

The reason behind the mugs was that it is a cheap, rundown tavern, one which wouldn't be able to afford glass. But in hindsight, I don't want people to think about it too hard, so the transparency of simply calling it a glass might be better off.

 

What did you mean about phonetic spelling? I tried to research it, but I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean. Did you have an example?

 

Thanks again for your input.


Desperately looking for advice on my query The Other Side of Blood

 

My published novel on Amazon The Traitor in the Trees


#4 JoQwerty

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 03:10 AM

What did you mean about phonetic spelling? I tried to research it, but I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean. Did you have an example?

 

What I meant by that was something like Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" or Irvine Welsh's "Trainspotting".

 

For example:

 

That's all you've got to worry about.  -- >  That’s aw yuv goat tae worry aboot.

 

Done right it can be quite effective; done wrong it can kill the whole story.



#5 BadgerFox

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 06:40 AM


 

 

Neither the rolling acrid smoke nor the stench of stale beer wafting in the backwater tavern could disguise the fact that a fight was about to break out. [this sentence is maybe too long, and the idea that this guy can somehow smell the future is a bit of a tough concept to throw a reader in on] I knew it. The gun powder on my unwanted “friend’s” effeminate fingers told me he knew it. I sighed into my mug of the cheapest whiskey money could buy and thought of the good old days when I was the hunter.

I mean, sure, one fight was as good as the next, but what good is it if your heart doesn’t thud a corrupt cadence of anticipation [I'm having trouble understanding the register this character speaks in. This phrase is quite 'purple prose' -y, flowery and poetic, yet the character seems to dislike effeminacy and that sort of thing. Woulda grizzled veteran really use words lke 'cadence'? Or are we to understand he is an educated and poetic old veteran? It's a bit hard to see what kind of character this person is]' ? The lead up is where it’s at, not the wiping of blood from your blade at the end. The previous minute or two had guaranteed I would enjoy this fight. It wasn’t the cocked pistol resting in his mouldy hip-holster. Nor his three companions spread around the floor, each watching on with shifting eyes and twitching fingers.

No, it was his feathery voice. The type which held as much truth as a fat lady’s corset; all illusion set on deceiving into a very nasty situation [ This sentence is ungrammatical and doesn't make complete sense. An illusion generally doesn't 'deceive into' - there's a mis-match between the noun and the verb construction you've paired with it.] or  There was one cure for that voice. It ended in crimson; my favourite colour.

I tilted my head to allow a better view of the man who had sat in the empty bar stool to my right. The vein in my neck pulsed to life as recognition spread through me [I can't really visualize this. I thought the pulse was taken on an artery, not a vein? Was it not pulsing before this point, in which case do we assume the speaker is undead? Again, the noun and the verb you've paired here don't exactly match - 'recognition spread'...how can recognition 'spread'? We would usually say something more like 'realization dawned' or 'I recognized it'] . 

 

I think there's some good raw ideas here, but the language is quite clunky and doesn't flow that well, and it's still very hard to tell what's going on here. I can understand some things: that there's some grizzled old veteran having a drink, he doesn't seem to like the attitude  and voice of this camp dude near him (which is a shame: I love 'effeminate', camp dudes, and have nothing against a man being 'effeminate'), he likes killing people, a fight is going to happen, and he doesn't think it will be that much fun. But I don't know who either of these men are, where in the world or what era they are in, what they are doing, or why it's important, unfortunately. It's ok to let these unfold gradually, sure, but within the first 250 words it would be handy to have a few hints. 

 

Regarding the phonetic spelling - I love phonetic spelling when it is well-done (I'm from Scotland and love Irvine Welsh's 'Trainspotting', which is actually easier for some Scots to read than standard English), but I did find agents nowadays kind of hated it? I had some Scottish phonetic spellings in mine and it was consistently pointed out as a major problem. I've had to remove them, unfortunately. Also, if this is a fantasy world where the character's voice isn't based on any one particular regional accent, it might be harder to do his phonetic prononciation consistently? Is his voice cockney, UK Yorkshire, USA deep south, West Country UK, Scots borders, East Coast USA...? He's not obviously from a region that maps onto any one of these (that we've seen so far).

 

That said, phonetic pronounciation was done beautifully in things like the later Terry Pratchett books. BUT the viewpoint character spoke standard recieved-pronounciation English, and it was only minor characters that spoke infrequently who were represented phonetically. It really worked, but it didn't overwhelm the novel or make it hard to read. I've also seen it work where it's only infrequent particular words that are spelled phonetically, as with the Scots speakers in the Tobacco Lords trilogy. So...it's tough to know exactly when to use it, and you should maybe be careful with it if you're just starting out.

 

Source: I have degrees in scottish literature and linguistics. And tried to convince agents to accept my phonetic spellings. Which they wouldn't :( 

 

Link to my 250-word novel opening in my signature, if you’re willing to take a quick look – trying to get some feedback to sharpen it up! 


Spare a shiny scrap of feedback for newbie?

250 words of my AU novel: http://agentquerycon...native-history/


#6 Mdane

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 09:44 PM

Good morning all, I have made some changes to the first 250. Please let me know what you think.

 

The hunger for battle had been starved into me from a young age. Forced upon me until I had developed an obnoxious dependence on the spill of blood—whose, it didn’t matter. My friendship with death is how I knew blood would flow in this tavern this evening. I smiled into my glass of cheap whiskey. 
 
The stool to my right held a new occupant; one of those men who enjoyed words more than was healthy. He reeked of gun powder and desperation and the rigidity in his frame told me he knew a fight was brewing too. I took a pull from my drink and thought of the old days when I was the hunter.
 
While it was true that one fight was as fine as the next, what good was it if your heart didn’t thud the corrupt cadence of anticipation? The lead up is where pleasure is found, not in the wiping of blood from your blade. Regardless, I knew I would particularly enjoy this fight. It wasn’t the cocked pistol resting in his moldy hip-holster, nor his three companions spread around the tavern floor, each watching on with shifting eyes and twitching fingers.
 
No, it was his feathery voice. The type which held as much truth as a fat lady’s corset; an illusion created to lure you into an unpleasant situation. There was one cure for that voice. It ended in crimson; my favourite colour.

Desperately looking for advice on my query The Other Side of Blood

 

My published novel on Amazon The Traitor in the Trees





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